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Court of Appeals OKs Christchurch demolition: Church of England Newspaper, August 4, 2013 p 6. August 8, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Church of England Newspaper.

The New Zealand Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court decision allowing the Church Property Trustees (CPT) of the Diocese of Christchurch to demolish the earthquake damaged cathedral.

On 22 Feb 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake toppled the 132 year old cathedral’s Gothic spire and collapsed part of the reef. Further earthquakes in June and December caused further significant damage leaving the building in ruins. On 2 March 2012 the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews announced the cathedral would be demolished as rebuilding would cost NZ $50 million more than would be received from the proceeds of the insurance settlement.

A civic group, Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT), led by former MP Jim Anderton, protested the decision and asked the High Court to cancel the demolition and order the church to rebuild the damaged cathedral.

However High Court Justice Lester Chisholm ruled the church was entitled to deconstruct the damaged 132-year-old cathedral, but only if it built a new cathedral on the same site. The GCBT challenged this decision in the Court of Appeal, and on 15 Nov 2012 the High Court issued an interim judgment halting demolition until Court of Appeal reviewed its findings.

Bishop Matthews applauded last week’s decision, but declined to discuss future plans as several legal issues remain before the High Court, including whether all insurance proceeds must be used for rebuilding, or whether some portion of the funds may be used to build a temporary “cardboard” cathedral.

Mr Anderton said his group would consult with their solicitors to determine what options remained open to them to block demolition.

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